By Kevin Rutherford
Celine Dion is the epitome of ‘big voice, big arrangement, big everything.’ The French-Canadian singer muscled her way into the world’s spotlight in the early ’90s with a string of hits across the globe, practically becoming the definition of pop power-ballad during that stretch. Songs like “Because You Love Me” and “The Power of Love” are tailor-made for the slow dances on your wedding soundtrack, while “My Heart Will Go On” has arguably the best key-changed final chorus of anything of its time, complete with a buildup that would make Marcus Mumford sweat.
But while Dion has maintained her star worldwide, the impact of her post-’90s discography has dwindled in comparison to the juggernaut of singles that helped her top the Hot 100 four times. A recent lack of album releases is partially to blame; after keeping an admirable pace through about 2003, her output slowed considerably, especially in terms of English-language records. Taking Chances hit in 2007, along with the French-language D’elles, but then came silence — until last year, when she pleased French-speaking crowds yet again with Sans attendre. As generally underwhelming as her English-language releases have been in the last 10 years, Dion still turned out some impressive work in this century. You just have to either speak French or appreciate some seriously good vocal and arrangement work to find it.
This week, Dion is back with her first English album in six years, Loved Me Back to Life.